Zimbabweans will go the polls this Saturday but the outlook for the opposition is bleak in spite of the fact that the country has been in a total economic meltdown for several years.
Incumbent Robert Mugabe has been in power for 28 years since the country’s independence and has violently suppressed opposition to his rule.
Many independent international observers groups have been barred from the country. The elections will only be observed by election monitors from China, Libya Sudan and Iran and Russia.
International media organisations such as the BBC have also been barred from covering the election. The opposition alleges that millions of surplus ballot papers have been printed in advance by the government to rig the poll.
The government has warned that any attempt to protest against the eventual outcome of the election will be put down by the security services.
Unfortunately this scenario has been repeated several times in Africa. With a few exceptions leaders are unwilling to give up their grip on power.
The electoral process is manipulated, the losing party cries foul, violence ensues, international observers state their views and eventually the country goes back to business as usual.
That leads us to the question Can Western Style Democracy or any kind of Democracy Work in Africa?
Earlier this year an editorial in the official Chinese paper the People’s Daily argued that Western Democracy or any kind of Democracy was unsuitable for Africa and was “tyrannically imposed” by colonial rulers who ignored traditional forms of governance.